Vatican City is known as the smallest state in the world. It shares borders with Rome and is known as the most sacred place in all Europe. The Vatican has multiple religious sites. Moreover, it is the home of Pope Francis, the leader of Catholics. I firmly believe that one should take out time to visit this beautiful city as it has numerous enthralling historical sites.
We have accumulated seven historical sites that are worth visiting in the Vatican city. Let’s have a look at them, shall we?
1) Basilica di San Pietro:
This particular church is known as ‘Basilica di San Pietro’. According to Catholic beliefs, this is where Saint Peter was buried. Saint Peter was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. Moreover, the church itself has over 100 tombs within its grounds. People from all over the globe visit St. Peter’s to pay their respects. This particular site is certainly a treat if you adore history and historical sites.
2) Sistine Chapel:
The Sistine Chapel was constructed by Pope Sixtus IV in 1473-84. The Chapel is a four-sided hall, which is also known as the Pope’s private chapel. It is used for various special occasions. The conclave to elect a Pope’s successor is held there. The frescoes by Michelangelo and other popular artists cover the walls and ceiling of the Chapel. Moreover, the side walls are covered with large frescoes of Biblical pictures against the background of Umbrian and Tuscan scenery, painted for Sixtus IV by Perugino, Botticelli, Rosselli, Pinturicchio, Signorelli, and Ghirlandaio. All in all, it’s a wonderful place.
3) Pinacoteca Vaticana:
Pinacoteca was plundered by Napoleon, but it still contains 16 rooms of valuable art from the Middle Ages. The artistic pieces are arranged in chronological order. Medieval art includes Byzantine, Sienese, Umbrian, and Tuscan arts, as well as Giotto triptych and Madonna. A special room is dedicated to tapestries from cartoons by Raphael; his Madonna of Foligno along with his last painting, the famous 1517 Transfiguration. Moreover, portraits include Da Vinci’s St. Jerome, a Titian Madonna, and Caravaggio’s Entombment.
4) Museo Pio Clementino:
The Vatican museums have the biggest collection of ancient sculptures and artefacts in the world. The said sculptures and artefacts were mainly found in Rome. Most of them are displayed in the systematic arrangement designed by Popes Clement XIV and Pius VI from 1769 to 1799. In the Sala a Croce Greca, there’s a red sarcophagus of Constantine’s daughter, Constantia, and his mother, St. Helen. Both are beautifully decorated with multiple figures and symbols.
5) Vatican Necropolis:
There’s an ancient necropolis underneath the Saint Peter’s Basilica where his tomb is located. Not to be mixed with the grottos, this place is a former mortuary housing Christians killed by Emperor Nero, including Saint Peter. Pope Pius XI approved various excavations in the 1940s and unearthed 20 tombs, including Saint Peter’s Tomb, which contained his remains. The tomb, however, is only accessible via a guided tour. They only allow 250 visitors each day, so do book your visit as soon as you land.
6) Castel Sant’Angelo:
The Castel Sant’Angelo is also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian. It was built in the second century as a tomb for the Roman emperor, Hadrian. It was then transformed into a military fortress and then a papal residence, before finally becoming a museum. It is quite easy to recognise the building mainly because of the statue of Archangel Michael that is perched on top of the towering castle. The rooms, however, have an extensive collection of weapons and prison cells where multiple historical figures were incarcerated in the olden days.
7) Piazza San Pietro:
Piazza San Pietro lies directly in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica. It was constructed between 1656 and 1667 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for Alessandro VII Chigi. The square itself is considered one of the best examples of art. Bernini designed a unique square, surrounded by two half-circle arms of columns. Moreover, there is a Vatican obelisk in the middle of the square. It was brought to Roma by Emperor Caligola to decorate the Circus of Nero where San Pietro was ultimately executed.
All in all, one should definitely visit the Vatican as it has numerous historical places and artefacts.